Deliciously Dim Morning
Dante and I achieved a milestone this morning. We took advantage of the foggy, dreary, misty morn to complete my 2.5 mile walk route for the first time in 2014! It was not a quick trip. Considering stops for me to catch my breath, blow my allergy-irritated nose, and avoid close encounters; as well as pauses for Dante’s waterworks and olfactory investigations; our stroll required more than an hour.
The mist helped reduce the pollen level, and the lack of bright sunshine allowed me to spend more time outdoors without concern for adverse health effects. Our longer walk permitted a more intense session of training to the leash. It is much nicer with Dante walking along beside and behind me, than Dante dragging me behind on a search-and-defend mission -- i.e., he is so protective, he feels compelled to defend his pack leader (me) against all comers.
During our walk yesterday, we encountered a nice lady also walking her daughter’s dog. Dante greeted the other dog with aplomb and tolerated his handler without a single growl. Somewhat later, another nice lady walked past our slow-coach parade, and turned to say, “Oh, what I nice…” At which point, Dante went into his berserker mode -- snarling and yapping -- causing her to draw back in alarm and hurry on. Once comfortably a block or so ahead, she stopped, waiting for traffic to clear and allow her to scurry across the street and out of apparent danger.
I felt awful for her and terribly embarrassed.
I very much doubt he would actually hurt anyone, but cannot take any chances, so I keep him on a short leash and watch ahead to plan paths near, but not too close to others out for a walk. He needs exposure to people, so he understands there is no danger. During winter months, I am a hermit because cold air causes extreme problems with my lungs and because my near-senseless feet make slipping and falling a constant danger. Folks avoid visiting because I have to limit exposure during cold and flu seasons. Therefore, adventurous and courageous folks who drop by are treated to the pale and furry fury of a fuzzy kamikaze in full protective mode. As a result, he is not well socialized.
I really like the animated film, Up. There is a running joke throughout the flick, about the uncontrollable response dogs have to seeing a squirrel. Since a squirrel has moved into our neighborhood, I have discovered the unfortunate truth hidden within the joke.
Twice now, Dante has sighted the squirrel crossing the road near our home and nearly pulled my arm off my body trying to chase after it. He will pull into the leash and stand on his hind legs for a better view -- and then walk down the street that way -- looking for the, “Squirrel!”
In any case, a walk with Dante is always a workout for both the legs and upper body. There are unmistakable benefits for him and apparent health benefits for yours truly. I am grateful we did not try to find room in our home for a treadmill. One day, I may need to simulate walking outdoors, should my condition deteriorate further. However, for now I love the time outside and plan to find ways to spend more time out there.
Despite one doctor’s tongue-in-cheek suggestion, wearing a burka is not going to happen.
Thanks to all who continue to pray for us, and send us good thoughts. God bless,